Just when we thought we were out, stadium talk brings us back in. Last week, Gov. Mark Dayton stated publicly that he is opposed to the possibility that the Minnesota Vikings could impose a seat license fee in their new stadium to help pay for their $477 million share of the construction cost. Personal seat license fees, which are charged by more than half of NFL teams, are typically imposed on top of the price of season tickets. In a letter to owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, Dayton said that he was opposed to “shifting any part of the team’s responsibility for those costs onto Minnesota Vikings fans.”
While it should not come as a surprise that Vikings owners might consider introducing seat license fees, as many other NFL teams as well as the Twins and Minnesota Gophers have done, we agree with Dayton that Vikings owners should pay for their share of construction costs without charging additional fees from Vikings fans. The state and city of Minneapolis are paying for the rest of the $975 million construction costs, which ultimately come from taxpayers. Because public dollars are going to pay for the new stadium, the owners should be compelled to pay for their share of the costs out of their own pockets instead of passing it on to loyal fans.
It’s understandable that the team might consider seat licenses. Their entertainment value remains high even in a town with an array of professional and collegiate sports teams. However, the team’s owners should show more appreciation for the millions of public dollars going to fund their new stadium. The Vikings are an extremely valuable asset to the Twin Cities, and their continual presence in the state as well as the construction of the $975 million project, should prove a boon to the local economy. However, fans should not be expected to help pay for the team’s share of the stadium’s costs.